Yesterday the teenager in me ( who I usually try very hard to repress) had a field day! She took a bus, then the muni and trekked all the way up to San Francisco and stood in line outside ( no, not a club or backstage at a rock concert ) but a bookstore, (this one) to meet one of my favourite cook book authors and bloggers, the inimitable David Lebovitz!
I have been a huge fan of his cook books and his wonderful blog featuring to die for recipes such as flourless chocolate cake and home made ice cream interspersed with lovely accounts of his life in Paris. So I considered it a truly Divine coincidence that he was visiting San Francisco and around the same time that the Sweet Punch baking group had chosen his biscotti recipe for this month! I am thrilled that I was able to bake a batch for him adding an orange cardamom twist to his own recipe.
Orange Cardamom Chocolate Almond Biscotti
Biscotti literally means "twice baked" and it is a sort of hard crunchy cookie similar to the texture of rusk that is popular in India and it is perfect to dunk in your mug of coffee or hot chocolate. It is usally made with eggs and traditionally no butter or fat is added. It keeps for a long time, so it's great to make ahead and give away as gifts. It's also surprisingly easy to make!
I followed the base recipe from David Lebovitz here on Joy of Baking
Naturally I had to bake up a batch adding my own twist by adding 1/4 tsp cardamom and the grated zest from one orange which I rubbed into the sugar, and this was the only change I made.
It's a good thing I doubled the recipe to make two batches because we LOVED it too! I don't know if David liked it, but I hope he did!
Here are some more glimpses from the day:
I was hoping to buy Ready for dessert but unfortunately all his books were sold out so I had to ask him to sign a copy of Baked and that pamphlet instead which he very kindly did! (Sending this picture off to Susan because it is a
The cute little Omnivore bookstore was swamped because apparently every foodie in SF loves David and made it a point to come see him, fog or not! I was even an hour early and went to the nearby Martha and Brother's coffee shop to tank up after my long commute and guess who was sitting right at the entrance? David! but since he was deep in conversation I just said a quick hi and went to get my coffee and a yum turnover that had zucchini and onions and tomato and all sorts of yumminess inside it. Besure that I will be trying to replicate it at home soon!
When I got back to the store there was a line stretching all the way around it! This picture of finally entering it was after about half an hour! Notice how everyone came prepared with copies, except me :( Note to self: When going to book signings, even if IN a bookstore, get your copy before-hand!
Still it was a fun day and the man is as witty, friendly and laid back in person as he is in blogdom. I also got to meet the fun Christina of Learning by Fire (who took that picture of David btw- thanks Christina! : ) and Irvin of Eat the Love who also hosts some fun foodie events at 18 reasons.
The wonderful ladies who run Omnivore are super nice and they even gave us samples of buttery toffee with pop corn bits in it, covered in dark chocolate from poco dolce ( which alone was worth the trip to discover) and wine!
I took along the biscotti and also some spices from Kerala. Sort of as a small thank you for how much we all enjoy his books and recipes and tales of Paris :)
David opened the bag, and in his inimitable witty manner, gasped with he saw the small bag of Kudampuli/ Kokum and asked me if it was marijuana! David, I really hope you enjoyed the biscotti and get to use the kudampuli and enjoy it in sol khadi or fish curry or something edible and DO NOT try smoking it!